Something happens to a person once they snap the shutter, and they’ve captured a specific moment in time. Hell, maybe you dont feel that way about photography, but I do! Sometimes I just see something, an urge takes over, and I NEED to capture it. Even if it doesn’t turn out to be the best photo ever I still needed to take that photo. I always go with my feelings when it comes to photography.
That relationship, or connection with pictures that I have probably comes from my parents. We’ve always put photos on our walls, either of just the family, or of a great sunset my father got to see while fishing. My mother always creates these cool scrapbook-esq pieces to put on our walls. I know thats where my love of scrap-booking comes from. There’s just so much to do with photographs, and thats what makes this medium so great!
So, the passion is there. You have the creativity. Hell, you even have a camera. For those who want to become a photographer have to ask the question: How do I make a living doing this??
My generation has seen photographs go from just 35mm film to the whole Instagram situation! The transition to digital was mind blowing for everyone, I think. Everything became SO easy!!! Today, everyone is a photographer. Everyone that can get their hands on a smartphone and create an Instagram account, slaps some filters on their pictures calls themselves a photographer. Call me a snob, but I’ve had training in photography, and I feel like I’ve developed a style, and an eye for certain detail. I have practiced my photography, looked into techniques, ventured into what I think is art on a photography standpoint, and I’m sorry but Instagram?? If thats what in fact you are doing… YOU ARE NOT A PHOTOGRAPHER.
Being a photographer is far more than just taking a picture. Anyone can do that! Especially now, more than ever. So, what is it that sets the real Photographers a part from the fakes? Anyone can learn the equipment(depending on how quick you learn, and your ability to pick up on tech-y things.) We’ve already established anyone can actually take the picture. So, what do I think it is? There are so many out there utilizing our precious moments like our weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, and even our children to make a buck and to call themselves photographers. These are the things we want captured. We want to re-live those great moments. We want to freeze our child in time to remember how cute they were at 4 years old, especially when they become that horrible, rebellious teen. I’m sure several people have encountered the terrible class photos, family portrait, or even wedding photos where you ended up wasting thousands of dollars. When things like this happen that’s when you know not everyone can be a photographer. Mainly because you’re pissed that you got shitty photos out of the deal.
There are many different types of photography out there, and I’d like to think that the beloved “Long-Arm photography” as I like to call it, is not a type of photography, but just the thing that those instagramers need to fulfill whatever attention needs they have. We live in a world of instant gratification now, and Instagram is just the thing to satisfy the needs of the attention-whore. I wont even get into the duck-face and bathroom mirror photos!!
I will not say that everyone on Instagram is talent-less. I have seen some great things on there!! I have always said that it doesn’t matter what equipment you use to be a great photographer. I’ve seen some crazy impressive equipment owned by a half-assed photographer and didn’t really impress me with what they produced. I’ve seen amazing things come from people that could only afford a cheap point and shoot. So, equipment does not make the photographer!
The Photographer’s question isn’t, “How Do I make a living doing this?” Now, it’s “Am I REAL Photographer?” A great photographer is humble, and know thats there is always room for improvement. They never get to cocky either. They always work hard with the equipment they have, and they go with their instinct, and feeling when they take a photo. A great photographer has immaculate attention to detail. It’s the difference between a ruined photograph when a photographer doesn’t see that bra strap, or a lop-sided tie, or the garbage-can in the distance of a great landscape. A photographer that sees the tiniest detail, and the big picture, all at the same time! Knowing your equipment is half the battle, it doesn’t have to be a Leica, but whatever you are using make sure you know how to produce the best picture possible. Knowing how to work with what you have is a great skill, and I’ll go as far as to say thats even a talent.
When I think about how I take pictures, and if I am in fact a “Real Photographer” I often wonder if I passed the bar, or are up to par, or whatever measurement you want to use. Do I measure it by how many people say they love my work? Do I base it off of how much I sell? I’m not really sure. I do appreciate the eye that I have. I think that composition, and whatever you put in that frame is the most important. It doesn’t matter if you had a bad camera, you were freezing, and couldn’t achieve a steady hand, or that person just photo-bombed your picture. If you have a vision make sure it makes the frame exactly the way you wanted it to.
Capturing a moment is one thing, but if you can capture that moment, the emotion, and make someone else, even a total stranger, feel that emotion years later from looking at it than it goes way beyond just snapping the shutter. When you can do that you can then say yes, I am a REAL Photographer.